Politics & Government

This Democrat is raising serious cash to oust SC’s Joe Wilson from Congress

For the first time in at least a decade, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, could find himself facing off against a well-funded Democratic challenger.

Adair Ford Boroughs of Forest Acres raised more than $245,000 from April through June from more than 1,000 donors, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed Monday with Federal Election Commission.

The number is the largest opening quarter for a Democrat running for South Carolina’s 2nd congressional district in nearly four decades.

Boroughs launched her bid in April to unseat U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale.

The Williston native and former U.S. Department of Justice attorney outpaced Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, more than 2-to-1 in fundraising dollars for the second quarter, according to FEC records.

Wilson, who has represented South Carolina’s 2nd District since 2001, raised about $108,000 in the second quarter, 60% of which came from political action committees tied to defense contractors and banking, utility, health care, aerospace, telecommunication and insurance companies.

Boroughs, who has pledged to take no corporate PAC dollars, did not receive any contributions from political action committees, according to the latest FEC data.

“This seat doesn’t belong to the lobbyists of corporate PACs. It belongs to the people of the 2nd District.” Adair said in a statement. “I want to thank everyone who is generously giving what they can to this campaign, be it their time volunteering, or one dollar. Your contributions are powering a movement that shows South Carolina is ready for new leadership.”

A representative with the Wilson campaign could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Donors to Borough’s campaign included former U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles, U.S Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., former South Carolina Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum and South Carolina state Sens. Dick Harpootlian, D-Richland, and Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington.

Wilson received contributions Pro-Israel America PAC and the National Rifle Association, among others. Wilson was lampooned for his endorsement of a satirical program to arm pre-school students. Wilson appeared on a new TV program on Showtime starring comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. The House of Representatives member believed he was speaking with an Israeli anti-terror expert named Col. Erran Morad.

Wilson’s campaign has spent about $73,000 for the quarter and has $160,000 cash on hand for his re-election bid. Wilson is seeking a 10th term.

Boroughs spent about $99,000 and had $146,000 in the bank.

A red district

The Midlands district includes Barnwell, Aiken and Lexington counties and portions of Richland and Orangeburg counties.

Despite the solid fundraising, Boroughs faces tough odds. Wilson has solidly defeated Democratic challengers in the past.

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter that analyzes U.S. elections and campaigns, also ranks the district solidly Republican. Republican presidential nominees have enjoyed much wider margins of victory in the 2nd District than in districts nationally on average.

Republican President Donald Trump carried the district by more than 18 percentage points in 2016, and in 2018, Wilson beat Democrat Sean Carrigan by 13.8 points — even amidst a midterm surge that saw Democrats reclaim control of the U.S. House.

Wilson has not faced a well-funded Democratic contender since 2010, when he defeated Beaufort Democrat and Iraq War veteran Rob Miller. Miller raised about $3 million for his bid to unseat Wilson, who raised $4.7 million in that race, making it one of the most expensive races in the nation at the time.

Burroughs isn’t alone in seeking the Democratic nomination.

Democrat Lawrence Nathaniel, a former community organizer for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, announced this week he will host a kick-off rally Saturday in Cayce for his campaign for the Midlands U.S. House seat.

Nathaniel did not report any campaign fundraising as of Tuesday, according to the FEC’s website.

2nd Quarter fundraising in other SC congressional races


* Joe Cunningham, D — Raised $615,591; Spent $143,140; Cash on hand $980,069

Kathy Landing, R — Raised $29,240 (plus $250,000 loan); Spent $811; Cash on hand $278,438

Nancy Mace, R — Raised $155,345; Spent $2,442; Cash on hand $152,902

Michael Covert, R — Raised $48,740; Spent $42,362; Cash on hand $52,540

Logan Cunningham, R — Did not meet $5,000 reporting threshold

Chris Cox, R — no data


* Jeff Duncan, R — Raised $129,940; Spent $99,139; Cash on hand $288,908


* William Timmons, R — Raised $97,165; Spent $109,585; Cash on hand $35,808

Kimberly Nelson, D — no data


* Ralph Norman, R — Raised $92,666; Spent $13,481; Cash on hand $585,511

Mark Anthony Ali — no data


* Jim Clyburn, D — Raised $444,181; Spent $460,698; Cash on hand $1,165,275


* Tim Rice, R — Raised $246711; Spent $104,560; Cash on hand $1,092,502

Dewon Huggins, R — no data

* Denotes incumbent

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Tom Barton covers South Carolina politics for The State. He has spent more than a decade covering local governments and politicians in Iowa and South Carolina, and has won awards from the S.C. Press Association and Iowa Newspaper Association for public service and feature writing.